15th January 2010 saw the arrival of the new Citroen C3..it's the one with the receding hairline.
15th January 2010 saw the arrival of the new Citroen C3...it's the one with the receding hairline.
To save you scratching your collective heads, it was how a friend described the panoramic Zenith windscreen, a standard feature on all but the base VT trim level. The Visiodrive is how Citroen puts it.
Even though the previous version boasted a huge amount of glass in the form of a panoramic sunroof, the up and over windscreen is nothing short of impressive. To be fair, it has been done before but not at supermini level.
Measuring some 1.35 metres, from behind the bonnet to the start of the roof, the windscreen is around 36 per cent larger than the average for this size of car and whereas the driver's sight line is usually somewhere in the region of 28 degrees, in the new Citroen C3 it is more like 108 degrees.
The extensive view is great and the 'Wow-factor' doesn't wear off but the extra glazing does raise some questions for which Citroen have some very good answers. For instance, how does the driver cope with bright sunshine? Well, the top 25cm of the screen has a graduated tint that offers some protection against the sun and, should the glare prove too troublesome, there is a sliding sunblind that easily pulls forward to a more normal roof line. Furthermore, at the end of the false roof, there are two sunvisors that can be flipped down.
The other question that was raised during the test week was one of safety. Obviously it is everyone's interest to keep the car shiny side up, as they say, but what if the unthinkable happens? The Citroen C3 benefits from a stiffened body with strengthened A-pillars and a sturdy, chromed framework to the screen. So, it is not very different to driving an open-topped car. What is more, the Citroen C3 has a full set of airbags on board (VTR+ upwards) and has achieved an overall 4-start rating in the new Euro NCAP safety tests.
When the Citroen C3 first came out, the design majored on quirky, fun looks in a similar manner to the smaller cars in the Citroen stable. The new version still retains some of the French company's individualism but it is now more muted.
The exterior design still shows the curves that made the previous model so distinguishable and popular but it is now sportier and a good deal sleeker. However, the Citroen C3 remains 5cm shorter than the Peugeot 207 and the Renault Clio, which are some of it rivals, but somehow manages to offer 'class-leading' space. But let's stick with the outside for a moment.
According to the Company, "the Citroen C3 represents an upmarket shift, while retaining an emphasis on value for money" - and it shows. The large trapezoidal front grille dominates the front end and replaces the twin grilles that were a feature of the outgoing model. This means more bonnet space for the new-look Citroen logo and large boomerang-shaped headlight clusters. All of these characteristics and the fairly low-slung aspect of the car, serve to make it look wider than it is and definitely more planted than of old.
For the new car, the window-lines have been raised and the windows themselves are narrower, which also helps to promote a sporty feel. While at the rear, wraparound taillights add width to the rounded boot and chunky bumper.
Citroen C3 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Citroen C3 VTR+|
|Colour||Belle ile Blue Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||13.7 seconds|
|Top Speed||101 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||74.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 23/02/10)||£13,790|